On Thursday, President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver his fourth State of the Nation Address at Parliament in Cape Town. Picture: Siyabulela Duda/GCIS
On Thursday, President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver his fourth State of the Nation Address at Parliament in Cape Town. Picture: Siyabulela Duda/GCIS

Eskom, the economy, corruption and crime top Ramaphosa's tough SONA 2020 to-do list

By Siyabonga Mkhwanazi Time of article published Feb 9, 2020

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Cape Town - President Cyril Ramaphosa is facing mounting pressure over his State of the Nation Address (SONA) with opposition parties calling for him to rein in collapsing State-Owned Entities (SOEs), clamp down on corruption and intensify the fight against crime.

The IFP, ACDP and Cope said on Saturday Ramaphosa must come up with concrete plans to fix the state of the economy.

Cosatu said Ramaphosa may unveil plans of using pension funds to cut Eskom’s debt by half.

IFP national spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said the president must move from the statement of intent to tangible and realistic actions.

“The economy is not growing, we need action,” Hlengwa said. “Insofar as the SOEs are concerned, the president will need to be bold and decisive on what needs to happen.”

He said SAA was in constant need of bailouts and this cannot be allowed to continue.

Hlengwa said Ramaphosa must come up with action plans to fight crime and corruption in the country.

Steve Swart of the ACDP said the economy was a key issue that needs attention.

“The issue relates to the economy that is in dire straits. He needs to give us some tangible steps on how he grows it. Linked to that is our SOEs, and that is Eskom. We need an update in stabilising Eskom,” said Swart.

He said Ramaphosa must also address the issue of crime and corruption. “We need strong action to be taken now. The country needs strong leadership.”

Cope spokesperson Dennis Bloem said they want the president to deal with crime and corruption.

Bloem said corruption has not stopped since Ramaphosa took over. “It seems people are not worried. We want to see concrete action.”

He said the president must rein in collapsing SOEs. Serious action would have to be taken.

“Eskom is on its knees. With SAA, there is no progress even with the business rescue practitioners. These practitioners have taken over an asset that is on its knees,” said Bloem.

He said action would have to be taken against gender-based violence and crime in general.

People were no longer safe in the streets with criminals running amok. The state needs to take the streets back from criminals, he said.

Sizwe Pamla, Cosatu spokesperson, confirmed there was an agreement to allow the use of pension funds to pay R254 billion of Eskom’s debt.

Pamla said the agreement between government, business and labour was likely to be signed before the SONA on Thursday.

He said the Public Investment Commission, the Development Bank of Southern Africa and the Unemployment Insurance Fund already have R120bn in Eskom bonds.

“It’s a question of getting a balance of R254bn to the R120bn that is there,” said Pamla.

He said the technical committee working on this would thrash out the details of the deal.

The principals would probably sign it before the SONA, he said.

He said Eskom was an important and strategic asset. “We are going to fix our utility so that we fix our economy. Going forward, the workers will be a major stakeholder.”

POLITICAL BUREAU 

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